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Author Topic: Freemiums
Denevius
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I'm sure I'm not the only one who plays freemiums. For those who don't know, they're game apps that you can download for free, but then there's a lot of in-game app purchases to enhance game-playing experience, making it a multi-billion dollar industry. So they're anything *but* free, and the greatest joke the devil ever made was conjuring up that name, Freemium.

I, on the other hand, refuse to pay for virtual upgrades, so I'm left grinding up levels. Grinding is an awful part of gaming in which you do a very monotonous series of hand gestures over and over again for an extended amount of time before you finally achieve a more exciting level of game play. It's part of the experience of gaming, and you have to just kind of be into the game overall to want to spend the time to grind up. But it's definitely a grueling experience.

I didn't google the Snowflake Method. Soooooo technically, I don't know what it is since an explanation wasn't offered when one was asked for. But though I don't know what it is, I can kind of guess what it is because I've been in enough conversations about writing and writing methods. And these methods are basically all the same.

In thinking of this, though, I realize that I've never actually directly read a method, or *way*, of writing. Back when I was 19, I was given the book BIRD BY BIRD, by Anne Lamont, and at the time, it was just the book you absolutely had to read as a potential writer (this is, of course, before the internet where all it takes is to upload a story to be called an "author"). Just about everyone I knew, both perspective writers and established writers, had read this book, and they swore up and down about how great it was.

I think I read a couple of pages before putting it down. I've heard it talked it about (actually, I was supposed to read it for class,which is why it was given to me), but I've never gotten through its opening pages.

Personally, I think all of these How To books and methods aren't unhelpful. Established authors who've read them, I think the reading of them has been incidental to their success. Not a cause of their success, and not even a correlation. Just simply incidental. If they hadn't read it, they would have probably still been successful. But at the same time, the best artists use as much of their personal experiences in their writing, so to say that these How To books and methods had absolutely no effect wouldn't be accurate. But they probably had about as much effect as getting too drunk one night and throwing up in the corner outside of a bar.

But I'm willing to submit that these How To books and methods aren't only incidental to the success of perspective writers, but they're also harmful. I think it gives people the idea that if they can only crack a code, their writing will be successful. So if they can only write the perfect pitch, or conjure the perfect plot, or pen the most perfect dialog, that their lives will eventually mirror the J.K. Rowling's of the writing world.

It's kind of a thin line to walk because, on the one hand, everything requires a learning experience. And yes, there are books to facilitate that learning experience. But these How To books and methods are more about selling the mirage that the way to compelling narratives isn't through anything else except exceptionally hard work. That's my problem with all of those books and methods (and why I didn't google Snowflake Method). They attempt to convince readers that you don't have to grind your way up over an extended period of time to be a decent writer. That you don't have to grind your way up to being a moderately successful author.

And there's so many things out there that try to trick people into thinking that there really is a FREEMIUM Method to being a writer. NANO month is another of them. On the one hand, it sets a difficult goal of writing a certain high number of words a day in order to reach an overall word count at the end of the month. But what NANO month doesn't teach all of its adherents is that the *writing* of the novel is probably actually the easiest part of the novel writing experience. Putting out a couple of thousand words a day for a month is pretty easy. The only reason so many people find it difficult is for the same reason that unfit people find sudden exercise difficult. You're fat and out of shape and you aren't used to exercise. So of course suddenly leaping into a rigorous (relatively) physical regime will seem extremely difficult. Just as suddenly trying to write several thousand words a day for one month when you only write a couple hundred words a day for the other 11 months is going to seem like a huge mountain to climb.

The hard work of novel writing, though, comes after, when you have to now edit, and revise, and rewrite, and edit, and revise, and rewrite. It's funny because what people have started doing is throwing up what they've written during NANO month online for sale. And I'm on these writing websites where everyone is called an author, and invariably on each of these sites the exceptions are thrown up. You know these tales of writers who shopped their book around for years, got rejected, and finally a publisher took a chance on them and now they're a bestseller.

Or more common now, self-published writers who are selling thousands of books. But these examples are very selective because of course, for every one success story, I can point to hundreds and thousands who have put their book out there who didn't succeed.

People who are glamoured by these FREEMIUM methods to writing are also the reason why vanity publishers flourish. Vanity publishers aren't free, but they thrive on this idea that, once again, you don't have to grind your way over a long period of time to slowly becoming a better writer. If you give them enough money, they'll produce your book, "advertise" it, and before you know it (pointing to one of their successful authors) you'll be like this guy or girl.

So I don't know. I would like to say that the Snowflake method isn't harmful. But I think however the Snowflake method is phrased, if every other line in its instructions isn't, "But at the same time, you'll never become a better writer if you aren't constantly grinding at it, and odds are you'll never have any external success, so don't worry about being the next anything", then it's actually detrimental to perspective writers.

If I were to write a How To, or a Method, to writing, I really think it would be composed of ten steps. The first 8 steps would be, "You have to grind your way up over many years (yeah, sorry, probably half of your lifetime) to become a moderately better writer." And then step 9 and 10 would be something that has to do with craft.

Other than that, I think little of everything else is helpful.

[ February 21, 2015, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: Denevius ]

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extrinsic
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Perhaps you mean prospective writer? A "perspective writer" could be a writer whose view is of circumstances in their personally true shapes and relationships and relative importance, in perspective, and also how interrelation of words, subject matter, and parts and wholes are mentally composed as written-word sensual scene portrayal based upon perceived sensory stimuli.

In any case, How-To's are a learning method for writers who like to be told a process like a recipe or an assembly manual. Sift together into a two-quart mixing bowl one cup flour, one teaspoon salt, and one teaspoon baking soda. Press tab A into slot B. Use #10 machine screws, provided, to attach the baseplate to the frame in the predrilled holes of each. Arguably, the result of such writing is mass-produced assembly line products. Though How-To's are bases for a skeletal structure which can then be adapted to suit a writer's aesthetic sensibilities and any given narrative's challenges.

Aesthetics texts are another matter, probably as helpful as How-To's in every regard, save two; aesthetics texts show, not tell, and that aesthetics provide a basis for developing what How-To's don't: personal expression options to then or priorly develop for fleshing out a structural skeleton. How-To's and aesthetics texts compliment each others' shortfalls. Nor are there only two types of expression guidance. How-To and aesthetics study combined is further complimented by critical analysis and interpretation from close, active reading of successful narratives, narratives which appeal to a target audience. More, too -- grammar, rhetoric, culture, technology, other arts and sciences, literary movements and schools of thought, any and all study of human existence and expression across time and space, sampled anyway.

A whole lot of effort and time expended, burnt the wee-dark-early candles; in other words, not actively writing, if that's what a writer chooses to or is compelled to do. For some, they reach a goal line from one straightforward How-To instruction and the rest comes from intuition and osmotically absorbed learning. Maybe some growth comes from just sharing what a writer has learned in a How-To. Composing a How-To or aesthetics text solidifies learned accumulation and concentration of knowledge wealth. And maybe earns a writer some coin. Others seek farther and progressively stepped goal lines.

The Poet's Journey is a path different for everyone; for some, the path is a flat and straight railroad track; for others, a roller-coaster; for others, a trackless wilderness of trail to be blazed; for others, a maze of paved road, highway, and gravel grids and landmarks. The track has sidelines, spurs, detours, temptations, shortcuts, long delays, rapid spurts, milestones, setbacks, ad infinitum.

For me, I stall on a plateau at each leg, take a moment or more for refreshment on a station's platform, until a new insight opens the blocked way ahead. I do not want the journey to end; the journey is the reward, and satisfactions at regular intervals keep the journey thrilling and exciting and, at times, bogged down in doubt and frustration, without which the journey would be as unbearably routine as breathing. A little storm cloud must rain on every silver lining or else the silver be lead.

(Beautiful and uncommon Warrior King and High Priestess champagne crescent Moon the early night of February 20th, 2015; the Moon occulted Mars and Venus on a lunar horn. Night skies hereabouts rarely display much or such celestial beauty.)

After my first ground-shaking epiphany from study, I was hooked on aesthetics texts. Obviously. Their study has led me farther than I could foresee before, and one happy and fortunate consequence has arisen: sublime and profound new knowledge discovery to share for a common good. I foresee a groundswell of conversation buzz.

[ February 22, 2015, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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JSchuler
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Way back when I was in college, I had a professor that was a Navy man. We got to talking in his office one day, I forget the topic, and I forget who he was quoting when he said this, but there were two types of generals (yes, generals, not admirals) that could demonstrate greatness: the kind that had read a lot of books, and the kind that had read none. It was those that had read one or two books that were condemned to mediocrity and failure, because their tool kit was constrained by their learning, not improved. Those who hadn't read a single book at least never had their minds boxed in by a single thinker.

The same is true of texts on creative writing. If you read one or two, you'll be worse off than if you never read any.

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Captain of my Sheep
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The pay-to-play is such a slimey method of making money. Candy Crush being the biggest offender of them all. But boy does it make money...

Denevius: I'll add my point of view on the matter. I'm a newbie that wishes to write stories that entertain an audience. This is my goal. I'm constantly bombarded by blog posts about books that are the best ones to learn. All of them say: "I have the secret, you can have it, too."

I don't pay attention to any.

You cannot convince me to buy 50 books on writing and read them all simply because my brain cannot possibly assimilate so much information at once. I'd rather read one book and write 30 stories.
I have only one book on writing (Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain). The information contained there helps me make sense of story parts that I didn't know existed. Trying to use just one techique from that book in a story makes my brain sweat. I'm eternally thankful for the stroke of luck that took me to Swain.

(Concindentaly, it was an article by the guy that created the Snowflake Method that lead me to Swain.)

Swain has a chapter at the beginning in which he says --I'll paraphrase here because I don't have the book handy-- that perseverance is a must. It sounds like what you think new writers should have at the front of their minds. Swain, compares a writer with talent that doesn't work too hard, with a writer with less talent that works their butt off. He puts hard work and writing a lot way ahead of talent. It's telling that this is the first thing Dwain wants the future writer to know.

JSchuler: I'm the general that read one book. I know I'll buy one in the future, once I'm familiar enough with the tools Swain offers that smoke doesn't come out of my ears when I'm re-writing, or revising, or coming up with story ideas.
Obviously, this is just me. But I find that I can absorb just one tool at the time. I'd be muddling the waters of my own learning process if I bought 5 more books on craft right now.

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extrinsic
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I'm the Field Marshall of writing who read every book or short essay hands and eyes could be laid upon. When I was a private stepping up the hierarchy through enlisted to officer to commander. I went to "war" college repeatedly, too, and studied and trained and learned on the job.

Early goings steamed my brain. Small doses, at first, I thought, was a best practice. However, a borrowed book must be timely returned and I didn't believe I could afford to buy a library, though now I do own one. So I read books I borrowed, cover-to-cover, and hoped something would stick in my subconscious. More than something stuck. One text led to another and back again. Reverb. Why I purchased books I'd read: because in concert they compliment and supplement each other. Possessed, ready to hand, they can be cross-referenced at will.

Yeah, I've read Dwight Swain and his cohort Jack Bickham. They are on my library bench. Their central aesthetics topic is structural as pertains to causality.

The Snowflake method, though useful, is a derivative of writing focus methods previously espoused by ten thousand names. When I reviewed recently the Snowflake, I sought whether the method is of value. Probably, I believe, though this recent review session I determined a shortfall of the theory -- derivative, one; derivatives are a faded replicant when they dilute a genesis idea, don't build upon prior knowledge. More important, to me anyway, does the current state of, say, Snowflake method knowledge comprehensively fulfill its functions. Conclusion: no. Lacking are the attributes a Snowflake sentence contains and their relevance such that a writer can appreciate the method.

So research to assess if an original source more effectively communicates the concept and its application: who when originated the ordinal focus idea? Poe? Okay, maybe yeah, he has a synopsis theory, not much about developing one. Who when else? Plato? Yeah. Socrates, Aristotle, yeah. Not much to go on, not explicitly about a crystalizing distillation condensate. Focus!

Oh, hey, wait. Duh-huh. Seymour Chatman indirectly expresses ice-crystal-clear condensate criteria: Story and Discourse; event, setting, and character. From there back to Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction: deny a rhetoric, say, moral preaching, another substitutes regardless. The basis for either rhetoric or any other: the moral human condition in its infinite expression.

And what about what rhetoric? Oh ho! My my, here "it" is unadorned, and as if an offhand expressed notion, as if taken as given and for granted, assumed as if about anyone knows, in The Poetics of Aristotle: "complication," for one; another, self-caused complication. Resort to a dictionary: complication; "a situation or a detail of character complicating the main thread of a plot" (Webster's: 11th Collegiate). Also, "denouement:" "the final outcome of a main _dramatic complication_ in a literary work." Underscores c'est moi. Also, from a grammar handbook: a narrative is about a moral human condition struggle to be satisfied. Not to mention grammar handbook principles which espouse expression focus criteria.

Put in with event, setting, and character, moral human condition -- complication -- self-involvement, antagonism, and causality completes Snowflake-focus method criteria development, and often ideally through accessible implications of one or more of the criteria, invoking tension's emotion and curiosity arousal appeals.

Generals, phaw! They polish my brass. ([Irony] polish my craft, and polish the seat of my pants', my backside, writing intuitions and plans).

[ February 23, 2015, 01:41 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Denevius
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quote:
The Snowflake method, though useful, is a derivative of writing focus methods previously espoused by ten thousand names. When I reviewed recently the Snowflake, I sought whether the method is of value. Probably, I believe, though this recent review session I determined a shortfall of the theory -- derivative, one; derivatives are a faded replicant when they dilute a genesis idea, don't build upon prior knowledge.
I can imagine that being another problem with a lot of these modern day approaches to writing, that they're dumbed down theories for general consumption. Which is why I think there would have been some benefit to the person actually expressing what they believe the snowflake method is espousing. How much of the concept do they personally grasp?

Or I suppose I could just google it and get a derivative of a derivative of a derivative (basically Wikipedia). As part of any decent Bachelors and Masters in English and Creative Writing, there's literary theory, so it's not like I haven't studied writing. These neat summed up versions of more complicated tomes I don't think are helpful, though, and are probably unhelpful.
quote:
I'm a newbie that wishes to write stories that entertain an audience.
C.o.m.S., I hate to signal you out, as this isn't about you at all. But I think the writing methods give rise to this very, in my opinion, unhealthy sentiment. Because I feel like a better edited version of this sentence is, "I'm a newbie who wants to, over a long period of time, gradually improve my self-expression through the written word (primarily prose fiction)".

A lot of methods and How To books on writing seem too focused on the end result of Product for Sell. And though it's probably an overstatement to say that this mentality has given rise to the glut of self-published writing over-saturating the internet, vanity publishers, editors charging exorbitant fees to make writing "publishable", etc., I certainly don't think it helps when writing methodologies are essentially get-rich-quick schemes.

quote:
Swain has a chapter at the beginning in which he says --I'll paraphrase here because I don't have the book handy-- that perseverance is a must. It sounds like what you think new writers should have at the front of their minds.
I think it would work better if it wasn't only in the opening chapter, or preface.

I feet that for every other sphere of their lives, people would look at how they approach as absurd. They expect to be really, really lucky in writing, but I just wonder, how lucky have they been in every other aspect of their lives? Well, that's probably how lucky they'll be in writing. And think about previous successes, if they exist. How long and how hard did you work for those? Why would writing be any different?

Too many of these writing companions are about selling dreams. Again, it's the Freemium method to writing, this idea that there's a somewhat easy way to being a bestseller author.

quote:
Composing a How-To or aesthetics text solidifies learned accumulation and concentration of knowledge wealth. And maybe earns a writer some coin.
Maybe established writers should resist the urge. The motivation behind authors writing a book like this might be good, but the motivation behind too many consumers buying them isn't as healthy. If the intent of most people was to write for self-expression, I'd say go for it. Engaging in artistic endeavors is probably as good for the individual as eating right and daily exercise. And just as there are books to guide people in eating habits (not dieting books), or books to optimize physical training regiments (not books promising you'll ever do *anything* like a pro without the hard, constant work of a pro), then there could, and should, also be books to better help people shape their self-expression through words (in this case, fiction).

But one can go to any writing website and see questions along the lines of, "Do you think this idea/pitch/story is publishable/will sell?" "Do you think my writing will ever get anywhere?"

Well, where are you trying to go, and why do you think that's someplace you're entitled to be with the amount of work you've put into it so far?

But the basic premise of writing methods and How To books is to try and convince the consumer otherwise. They work under the pretext that this is what you need to do to get your novel to the bookshelf. Instead of this is what you need to do to marginally increase your writing ability over an extended period of time. Of course, no one would ever buy a How To book entitled that:

How to Marginally Increase Your Writing Ability over Your Lifespan with No Intent to Sell a Novel and with the Complete Certainty That You Will Never Make Money on Your Fiction.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Denevius:
How to Marginally Increase Your Writing Ability over Your Lifespan with No Intent to Sell a Novel and with the Complete Certainty That You Will Never Make Money on Your Fiction.

Hyperbolous overstatement! Reverse-psychology-101 appeals. Not an unappealing How-To or aesthetics or both text's title.

My reverse proverb is, You can't get there from here and now. Though, of course, anyone can if that's a forward step on a journey of ten thousand leagues.

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Grumpy old guy
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I am reminded of JK Rowling, unpublished, novice writer, who had never done anything like Harry Potter, and yet . . .

Lucky? No, simply someone with a gift for storytelling. What made the first Harry Potter such a success was that it contained all the key elements of good storytelling: predominantly a subject dealing with a human emotional conflict any moron can understand and characters that are so likeable/loatheable any reader over seven can probably identify with them; if they haven't already met people like them. The prose is crisp, clear and has a certain whimsey that appeals to adults as well as its target audience.

JK Rowling had a method. I've seen copies of her worksheets where she plots out how the story unfolds, but that isn't all there is to her method. What else is there? I have no idea, but that she had a method is proven by the subsequent successes of the follow-up stories.

I started writing because I wanted to tell stories. I've been telling them all my life, but I wanted to understand how stories are created and built from the ground up. What scaffolding and framing they need, and so on. I started with searching out the advice of other writers method, but found it didn't work for me; I have to understand how something works at a first principle level and then work my way up from there. Other people are different.

I would think it a gross generalisation to suggest that everyone who's trying to get published/self-publishing is in it 'cos it's an easy way to make money. There's a lot of stuff on the Internet telling them otherwise.

Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why Denevius is so hot and bothered about people trying their own way, and writing for their own reasons.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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Denevius' posts sometimes express in emphatic and imperative moods doubts, frustrations, and struggles with publishing culture we all experience, in this thread, exploitive goods and services that prey on writers.
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Grumpy old guy
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Ah, well, extinsic, I can think of a bunch of quotes off-hand about that; most concerning the actions of fools. One good one to remember is: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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I think that's Denevius' point: too good to be true, and frustrated by advertising's onslaught.
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Robert Nowall
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I've managed to reach a point in my life where making money from my writing does not matter to me. It would be nice, if...but it's not the be all and end all of it.

However I take all that I've learned, from writing and from studying writing, and from all these years of trying to write for money---and carry that forward with me.

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Grumpy old guy
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Robert, I've never tried to write for money, I write for the story I have inside me. However, that elusive story (that pays) happens to be, from time to time, just the one I have waiting to blossom forth and provide a pay-check.

Lucky me!

Phil.

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Denevius
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I don't know. The point isn't that one should think that their writing will never make them money (though I reject the use of JK Rowling as a model in any way for one's own writerly aspirations). I'm currently studying Korean with the very intent of turning the degree I'll get into a paycheck.

But then, that is somewhat my point. Who gets a book on a language and expect to become a diplomat at the United Nations translating high level meetings between world powers? Most people would think you're nuts for even thinking this is a reality, yet then those same people will go buy a book on writing and think that with the aid of this book they'll one day be the next Stephen King.

In the far future I could potentially make decent coin as a translator, but in order to get to that point, it's going to take years of intense study. And all I'm saying is that the Snowflake method is the equivalent of buying Rosetta Stone and thinking you'll become fluent in a language by using just that.

Again, I can't help but wonder the same question. What else in potential writer's lives has been achieved in the same way in which they're chasing the dream of writing? At this moment I have lots of supplementary books on the Korean language. And yes, I have googled methods to language acquisition simply because I don't have a talent for it. But I think in situations like this, the average person would keep their expectations realistic.

Yet with writing, people have these vast dreams of what they're capable of. And I think there is a culture in the writing world that allows these misguided dreams to flourish. There's an idea that there's a relatively easy, relatively painless way to a publishable story that doesn't take years and years of grinding up to a realistic level of success.

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Captain of my Sheep
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quote:
C.o.m.S., I hate to signal you out, as this isn't about you at all. But I think the writing methods give rise to this very, in my opinion, unhealthy sentiment. Because I feel like a better edited version of this sentence is, "I'm a newbie who wants to, over a long period of time, gradually improve my self-expression through the written word (primarily prose fiction)".
Denevius: I don't mind being singled out [Smile] I decided to participate because I'm the newest one here so I thought my perspective might add to the discussion.

Sure, your edited version is more accurate of what I want to do than my wish. But I stated a wish and you stated an action plan. Nowhere did I say I took success for granted. Quite the opposite. I talked about being hardly able to use one tool effectively. I spoke of sweat, and writing instead of reading about writing. Those are not the words of a person that feels they will be successful fast, are they? I'm really asking if you got that vibe, or if maybe you were projecting the "newbie with stars in their eyes" type on me.

quote:
There's an idea that there's a relatively easy, relatively painless way to a publishable story that doesn't take years and years of grinding up to a realistic level of success.
If you think I bought Techniques of the Selling Writer with the intention of fattening my bank account, you'll have to excuse me a second while I laugh myself silly [Wink]

I might be a newbie but I'm not a young newbie. I have a job that I don't call "day job", like many writers on the internet do. One of the reasons I quit writing for many years was that I was too consumed by the search of a job that fulfilled me and fed me. I will not quit my job, ever. I'm in my 30s. I have a firm head on my shoulders and a long-view of writing: it's something I'll be doing for the next 20 years, at least, if I'm lucky. I'm not in a hurry.

You seem to assume I bought the book because I wanted something ready-made. Maybe a lot of people do think buying a book on writing will magically get their stories or novels published.

(I refer to "getting published" in the old sense of the word. All over the place writers say "I got published" when what they really mean is: I self-published my book to Amazon. It's not the type of "published" I'm looking for.)

But, I offer you an alternative reason why people might buy the books you condemn. I bought Techniques of the Selling Writer because I fell in love with Motivation-Reaction Units. Plain and simple. They help my imagination see better. The scene structure of goal-conflict-disaster? Makes me jump through hoops of creativity that make a story much more fun than before. I like smashing my head against my desk, or chew on a plot point like a cow chews on cud until I find the right answer. I will have the same type of answer to every writing tool presented in a writing book: if they help me create a better story to amuse myself, I want to use them.

I will buy any book that makes writing more fun and challenging, even if it has a conspicuously money-centered name as Techniques of the Selling Writer.

quote:
How to Marginally Increase Your Writing Ability over Your Lifespan with No Intent to Sell a Novel and with the Complete Certainty That You Will Never Make Money on Your Fiction.
Hehe.


quote:
Yet with writing, people have these vast dreams of what they're capable of. And I think there is a culture in the writing world that allows these misguided dreams to flourish.
I wanted to ask you a question. Just to see if I'm on the same page as you are. You want me, for example, to be told, multiple times, that I shouldn't dream about getting published because the chance I ever will is slim?

Or are you saying that newbies like me should be told, multiple times, that writing is a tough business and that I shouldn't expect to be rewarded instantly or ever, and that I'm expected to practice for years and years before producing anything of value?

Edited: I mangled a simple copy-paste.

[ February 23, 2015, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: Captain of my Sheep ]

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extrinsic
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A side effect of publication success is writers, who also write How-Tos and aesthetics texts and successful writers who don't, forget the anguish they experienced, the dashed emotional investment, the doubtful efforts they invested climbing above the fray. Survivorship bias is the cognitive dissonance's label: I succeeded; you can too; anyone can; let me tell you how.

Writers looking back on their journey remember the highlights, mostly the joys, and minimize the lows: that's the natural and necessary human condition for survival!?

Perhaps a narrative worth consideration about the real journey of an artist's struggle in this overly exploitive Digital Age portrays the "real" experience? A Künstlerroman or if plural Künstlerromane collection is wanting perhaps; the title could be the one Denevius ironically suggests above. Künstlerroman: artist's maturation novel, novel to mean fiction narrative of any length in the classic sense.

The vanity subset of pride-humility moral human condition struggle strikes me as a ready-made Künstlerroman topic's intangible complication. The tangible one that congruently carries the action? Unlimited options.

Motifs that tie the congruent actions together might include symbols that are as old as time and as common and contemporary as a hand mirror. Perhaps masculine vanity motifs: Prince Charming? Profit aggressions like How-Tos. Status symbols like advanced cell phones, luxury cars, tech toys, etc., keeping ahead of the Jones.

Hey, is Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 a Künstlerroman? Amenable to that analysis.

Maybe an artist wants an ansible for spam publishing to the universe a spew of self-gratifying, mediocre or worse narratives. The universe wants to shut the artist down. Promising fantasy and horror potentials too. Not too direct a motif and action correspondence, though, a correspondence gap for implication potentials.

Tragedy or comedy or maturation tableau? Fantastical fiction or otherwise? Unlimited options. Maybe a focal criteria could be a moral message. Life is as much an unlearning quest as a learning journey. Maybe another: The carrot lure is also the beating stick.

[ February 23, 2015, 11:44 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Captain of my Sheep
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quote:
Survivorship bias is the cognitive dissonance's label: I succeeded; you can too; anyone can; let me tell you how.
This is very valid. A lot of people might perceive the effort they made to achieve a goal as an effort anyone can or is willing to make. I don't know if you see any malice in the "let me tell you how." I don't.

I'm prone to self-deprecating humor because I really do think that if I can sell anything, then anybody can. I truly think so. There's nothing of note about me except the fact that I'm me. I manage to act like myself all the time. Whoopdeedoo.

Maybe there's a bit of this thinking in some of the "How to" Books.

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Grumpy old guy
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Originally posted by Denevius:
quote:
(though I reject the use of JK Rowling as a model in any way for one's own writerly aspirations)
Really? I'd like to know why you'd say something like that. Is it simply because she didn't do the hard yards you seem to deem necessary for one to succeed?

Phil.

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extrinsic
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Half of all English speaking and writing folk believe they have a story worth sharing publicly, for publication, more proverbial than statistical, a germ of truth no less.

Publication culture can accommodate that belief over time, room among magazine, digest, book, online and print publication. Self-publication accommodates a majority of narratives of that nature. Goal lines satisfied.

A farther goal line is publication through rigid publisher scrutiny and screening. Possible publication funnels into a chokepoint limiting number and space to a few. Conventional publishing culture is as stratified as public culture: rare top tiers, numerous bottom rungs, every step a respective volume limitation between, and not a dotted iota or crossed theta of delusional vanity or its misgivings. Though impartial mostly, publishers are as human as writers in their goal lines, oblivious to their personal frailties and faults and shortfalls, editorially, and mostly as instinctually driven as writers.

The success goal line strata also varies widely for writers. The Long Walk, 1979, a Richard Bachman novel, Bachman a Stephen King pseudonym, interprets allegorically as that Poet's Journey self-selected strata. An exquisitely crafted, autobiographic, and artfully separated one-to-one-correspondence writer Künstlerroman.

Writing culture has its deliberate malices, naturally and necessarily as part of the moral human condition, and its unintended ones common to performance competitions: winners, placers, show-ers, also rans, and did not finishers or declined to enters.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
quote:
Originally posted by Denevius:
(though I reject the use of JK Rowling as a model in any way for one's own writerly aspirations)

Really? I'd like to know why you'd say something like that. Is it simply because she didn't do the hard yards you seem to deem necessary for one to succeed?

Phil.

Rowling's Poet's Journey was no less unbearably difficult and interminably enduring than anyone's. The degree of her financial success, though -- first of many, many candidates. For the present time, anyway. Someone will overtop her eventually if not sooner. Who among us might be crafting the next Great Global Novels?
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Captain of my Sheep
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Grumpy old guy: Well, I can't tell you why Denevius rejects her as an example, but I can tell you why I'm weary of her as an example:

It seems nobody ever has made so much money, so fast with a book series.

The parenthesis you quoted from him was part of a sentence that discussed making money from writing. I think it doesn't have anything to do with how hard she worked at it, at least, not from the words I'm reading.
Like extrinsic rightly said, she did the "hard yards". She could've quit after her third rejection, or her 11th. But she didn't.

But my goodness. She made SO MUCH MONEY. If there was a ever a yardstick for monetary success, Stephen King would be someplace very, very high and then you'd have to hop on the Enterprise and warp-speed for 6 days until you reached Rowling's private planet made out of money and the end of the yardstick. For now, as extrinsic said.

If anyone wanted to cheer me up using Rowling as an example of making money writing, I'd burst into giggles.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Captain of my Sheep:
quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Survivorship bias is the cognitive dissonance's label: I succeeded; you can too; anyone can; let me tell you how.

This is very valid. A lot of people might perceive the effort they made to achieve a goal as an effort anyone can or is willing to make. I don't know if you see any malice in the "let me tell you how." I don't.

Not malice, not overtly per se, though publishing culture includes malicious and misguided factions: cynical though credible and effective How-To writers whose only interest is the money, posed as altruism, to well-intending to misapprehending philanthropes who are sincerely altruistic, to outright predators. Not to mention genuine altruists of varied effectual degrees.
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Grumpy old guy
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Well, Cap'n, I never knew making a quid was a crime. Have to talk to my people about getting me more, and quicker.

But wouldn't everyone want to be rolling in money piled as high as the heavens? If you do, then see what JK did and apply it to your own writing; see if you can divine her method.

I'll start you off with this: Rule 1: Write something everyone will want to read.

Phil.

[ February 24, 2015, 12:21 AM: Message edited by: Grumpy old guy ]

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Denevius
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quote:
Half of all English speaking and writing folk believe they have a story worth sharing publicly, for publication, more proverbial than statistical, a germ of truth no less.
I'll modify that and say that all of the human race believe they have a story worth sharing publicly. Communication is often the sharing of a personal narrative publicly. And C.o.m.S., if buying a book to help with the construction of that narrative is something an individual feels is worth their while, I say go for it.

For publication is where I think a natural and healthy part of being human becomes messy, often times exploitive, and ultimately counter-productive for most. C.o.m.S., your responses seem perfectly reasonable when it comes to your writing aspirations. But over the years in the writing community as a whole, I don't think I've seen that level of reasonableness as an exemplar of prospective writers.

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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by Denevius:
But I'm willing to submit that these How To books and methods aren't only incidental to the success of perspective writers, but they're also harmful. I think it gives people the idea that if they can only crack a code, their writing will be successful.

Agree with you there. I've seen so many budding writers get caught up in lists of DO and DON'T and RULES and LISTS (like the famous "what agents don't want to see"), and they try to write entirely to some mythical code but never get beyond that, as if only they get the syntax right, it will compile into a bug-free manuscript.

And more, they crit by those Codes against any writing that doesn't fit this Rule-defined mold, and thereby damage writers who aren't yet sufficiently confident in their own voice but who have already moved past needing Rules To Write By.

quote:
Originally posted by Denevius: The hard work of novel writing, though, comes after, when you have to now edit, and revise, and rewrite, and edit, and revise, and rewrite.
That's an individual thing -- not everyone revises and rewrites (some pros do neither). And I agree with a pro on Another Forum[TM] that relying so heavily on rewrites probably does the individual writer more harm than good -- because they never really learn how to get it at least mostly-right the first time around.

I can attest that one of the great leaps in my own writing was when I learned to edit on the fly, so I don't need to revise or rewrite *at all*; at most I add and tweak.

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shimiqua
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My two cents.

Denevius, you wrote an impassioned and well framed argument, that solidified your beliefs and way of writing. I read it, agreed with some things, disagreed with others, and am now participating in a discussion instead of doing my own writing.

(It's okay though, I'm waiting for notes from my editor and can't jump back in until I get them.)

You essentially wrote a writing book, albeit a very short writing book. I offer the suggestion that every book on writing, or blog post about selling the next great novel, method or rule of writing, or whatever, is here only as a litmus test for you to play with. It exists for you to agree with, disagree with, or ignore, and as you do so, you develop your own rules of writing. And those rules are the only ones that matter, and the ones you have every right to break as the story calls for it.

I think the fallacy that often happens, especially to noobs, is that they see a post like this, or read a book like Bird by Bird, and think that because this person has an opinion, that means they are the expert, and thereby every single thing they say is correct.

(Except of course when it is a post by me, and then every thing I say is ACTUALLY correct and should be listened to.)

As developing writers, we are creating our own expertise, and our own version of true. But to dismiss all writing books or experts or methodology as hogwash, or worse cheating, is detrimental to the noobies who are reading this post, desperate for guidance. I absolutely love learning from those who know more than I, but sometimes what I learn, is that what works for me is different than what works for them.

I trust myself as a developing expert, and the only one who truly knows what works for me. But I'm happy to bash my head against other people opinions, and learn which way of the absolute I fall. I learn something every time.

However, I'd like to add a comment as to the self publishing is a vanity press argument you wrote in your post. I've sold thousands of books through Amazon,(About 20,000 all together so far and still selling) so by your theory, I am a success story. But I am in no way done doing the work. In fact, I don't think there is a done. I read everything I can, try different methods, write every day I don't watch NetFlix (whistling), and I keep learning. I do it, because I happen to find it fascinating. I actually love doing this job, every aspect of it. And that includes studying.

What I'd like to say though, you probably will agree with completely. There's no shortcuts to success. Publishing, even self publishing...actually, especially self publishing, is REALLY hard work. Even those you speak so disdainfully of, those who just up load their nano novel up on Amazon have done WAY more work than you are giving them credit for. Have you read Smashwords formatting policy? It's CONFUSING and DIFFICULT. Even if they make their own cover, that requires work. And if they haven't done the work in editing or in formatting, or in writing the blurb that sells the book, and designing the cover, not to mention writing a compelling and complete story, (Or gasp, marketing)then guess what? It won't sell. Maybe one or two books to the author's mom or cousins, but still, no matter how many people end up buying the book, that doesn't matter.

The fact is they've done something that people dream about. They have opened up their inner world to people, and I applaud their courage. I would suggest you stop criticizing them, at least until you've done a fraction of the work that they have.

You got to do the work. Some times it means reading other people's opinion to fully form your own, sometimes it means putting your butt in chair and writing until you figure out your own opinion, and sometimes people are born with their own opinion and a bull horn.

And sometimes it works.

Sometimes it doesn't.

Still you gotta do the work.

[ February 27, 2015, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: shimiqua ]

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shimiqua
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Also, JK Rowling worked on Harry Potter for fourteen years before she sold it. So she did the work, and deserves every freaking penny (ahem, strike that) pound that she earned.
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Denevius
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quote:
However, I'd like to add a comment as to the self publishing is a vanity press argument you wrote in your post. I've sold thousands of books through Amazon,(About 20,000 all together so far and still selling) so by your theory, I am a success story.
I think it was Phil who stated what numbers of copies needed to be sold to be considered successful, not me. Either way, congrats! That definitely seems like bestseller numbers.
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Robert Nowall
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Twenty thousand books sounds like pretty good sales. (Looked up "bestseller" on Wikipedia but, somewhat oddly, they list what numbers might make a bestseller in the UK and in Canada, but not the USA.)
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shimiqua
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Meh. For self published authors, the numbers should be in the hundreds of thousands before most anybody will even recognize your name.

Those sales, are ebook downloads. I can't tell you of those downloads how many people actually read the book, or who liked it. And I can tell you I don't make enough money to take my family out to an expensive restaurant every month. McDonalds, sure. But I'd honestly make more money if I ran a lemonade stand, so it's probably a good thing I enjoy the work.

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extrinsic
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An ambitious self-publisher writer who's fulfilled a recommended marketing plan's points: website, social media, posted samples and offered discounts, advertised availability, direct and indirect marketing of any and all possibilities, all the "Freemiums;" has completed what everyone else similar has. A writer who also has a respectable position in publishing culture draws yet more consumers.

That latter is a powerful marketing tool. Ambitious writers sample such a writer's work so that they might gauge the person's audience and sensibilities, so they might appeal to that person. More numerous product distribution quantity than similar skill set self-publishing writers generally is inevitable.

The number of such publishing culture positions is limited, though. As a consequence, ambitious writers start publishing venues to publish their works and disguise their self-involvement so they appear to be independent presses instead of the vanity presses they really are. That practice, too, has become as subject to question as any other vanity publication method.

Not to say vanity publication is a social wickedness. The skill set self-publication and self-marketing technologies these Digital Age times demand is nothing short of intensive and high-order efforts and aptitudes. However, the processes are as straightforward as a How-To, recipe, or assembly and operation manual processes -- more objective and mechanical physical science than art, if art at all. Not to say arts are foreign to the processes, though derivative dilution and duplicative dimunition are common, if not unavoidable -- just like the narratives offered for consumption; in other words, limited originality in all areas of production and marketing.

John Gardner notes successful narrative products uniquely repackage preexisting features or uniquely innovate previously unencountered features -- the more challenging originality feature -- or proportions of both (The Art of Fiction).

Arguably, J. K. Rowling accomplishes a greater proportion of the first and a fractional degree of the third. She carried direct discourse a step farther along in reality imitation regards than previously. The Potter narrative possesses a stronger inside-looking-out internality than is the norm for literature generally, and along the direction the literary opus has trended since the mid nineteenth century's Realism turned away from outside-looking-in externality.

However, Rowling no less composed a narrative amenable to film interpretation, which is that outside-looking-in externality perspective. Film cannot be otherwise. The method is a direct discourse of a detached, objective narrator as camera, which can record only external expression.

Written word, though, is most lively and bright -- appealing -- when internal, intimate, and personal: inside looking out. This direct discourse method, more than only dialogue, more than thought, more than bald reported sensory stimuli, expansively transcends "tell" through personal, subjective, intimately private emotional attitude expression.

Not to say this is navel contemplation, though nonconscious, nonvolitional, reflected reactions to causal stimuli is this method. The method is difficult to develop; temptations to summarize and explain and lecture are strong and challenging to overcome when drafting a narrative.

I'm reading David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest; not to say Wallace mastered the technique. He composes outside-looking-in narratives as much as anyone, though ironically comments on what he can't manage in those regards. To me, he's aware of the shortfall, reaches to overcome, stalls, falls back on habit, and expresses attitude about the method instead. James Joyce does too, Samuel Becket, Henry James, Laurence Sterne, and so on, writers whose aesthetics demanded more from them then they could manage with written word. Not impossible though.

From Infinite Jest, an addicts' halfway house residents' slogan as trite and shallow as they come: "I didn't know I didn't know" (pg 271). The shallow slogan, upon reflection, becomes profound and deep -- an oceanic abyss. For ambitious writers, the slogan is apropos of the writing process. For uniqueness at least, plumbing the depths of creativity encourages the journey, stands a writer above the fray, though not so deep or far above as to be inaccessible. A step not only long the Poet's Journey, Richard Bachman's, (Steven King), The Long Walk, also a step along the literary opus's track toward a stronger and clearer and more appealing reality imitation through written word, which readers crave. "I didn't know I didn't know" what I didn't know. Trite, I know.

[ February 28, 2015, 04:49 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Denevius
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quote:
An ambitious self-publisher writer who's fulfilled a recommended marketing plan's points: website, social media, posted samples and offered discounts, advertised availability, direct and indirect marketing of any and all possibilities, all the "Freemiums;" has completed what everyone else similar has.
I agree. It's not that the tools out there are inherently unhelpful (though there are predators preying on the desperate). It's the way many wannabe writers engage with the tools that makes them ultimately unhelpful.

quote:
You essentially wrote a writing book, albeit a very short writing book.
I don't know, I think the internet breeds this mentality. When I think of 'book', I think of a finely honed piece of writer craftsmanship that's been worked on (depending on length) for years.

I'm not sure when I started doing this, but it's fairly recent where on sites where writers list their publications, I've begun to actually google the publishers. And I started this because I'd see these people with a dozen or more publications to their name, and I'm wondering, "What am I doing wrong?" And one funny thing I see people doing now (or perhaps it's been going on for a while since I never investigated before) is creating a site, usually through a free service, and then accepting submissions to publish *on* their site. And those writers who publish on these sites consider *this* to be a publication.

Kind of strange. I'll always credit writing workshop sites to helping me improve my writing, but I cringe at how they refer to everyone who posts anything on the site 'author'.

I'm a full time student at the moment, but when I was teaching, I used to slap a bandaid on a kid when they got a scrape. That didn't exactly make me a doctor because I made a diagnosis, "Hey, a little blood", rinsed it off and put a bandaid on it. Yet you throw some words online and suddenly you've written a book and are an author.

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